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Classic Books to Try on Audio

I love listening to classics on audio. While classic books can be intimidating in any format, audiobooks can make even the most dense and lengthy classics more accessible and enjoyable for every type of reader. Classics on audio can help you invest in the story, hear the author's tone, or get something totally new out of an old favorite. Here are 15 classics to try on audio that will renew your love of classic literature.

Playlist Tags: genre: Classics topic: classic

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Their Eyes Were Watching God

By Zora Neale Hurston
Narrated by: Ruby Dee
Length: 6 hours 44 minutes

“A deeply soulful novel that comprehends love and cruelty, and separates the big people from the small of heart, without ever losing sympathy for those unfortunates who don’t know how to live properly.” —Zadie Smith

One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a Southern love... Read more »

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Beloved

By Toni Morrison
Narrated by: Toni Morrison
Length: 12 hours 2 minutes

Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding New York Times bestseller transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby.

Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful... Read more »

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The Odyssey

Penguin Audio Classics

By Homer
Narrated by: Ian McKellen
Length: 13 hours 2 minutes

The Odyssey is literature's grandest evocation of every man's journey through life. In the myths and legends that are retold here, the energy and poetry of Homer's original is captured in a bold, contemporary idiom, giving us an edition of The Odyssey that is a joy to listen to, worth savoring treasuring for its sheer lyrical mastery. This... Read more »

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The Count of Monte Cristo

By Alexandre Dumas
Narrated by: Richard Matthews
Length: 43 hours 13 minutes

Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read

A popular bestseller since its publication in 1844, The Count of Monte Cristo is one of the great page-turning thrillers of all time. Set against the tumultuous years of the post-Napoleonic era, Alexandre Dumas’s grand historical romance recounts the swashbuckling... Read more »

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Les Miserables

By Victor Hugo
Narrated by: George Guidall
Length: 60 hours 27 minutes

One of the great classics of world literature and the inspiration for the most beloved stage musical of all time, Les MisErables is legendary author Victor Hugo's masterpiece. This extraordinary English version by renowned translator Julie Rose captures all the majesty and brilliance of Hugo's work. Here is the timeless story of the... Read more »

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Passing

By Nella Larsen
Narrated by: Robin Miles
Length: 4 hours 5 minutes

First published in 1929, Passing is a remarkable exploration of the shifting racial and sexual boundaries in America. Larsen, a premier writer of the Harlem Renaissance, captures the rewards and dangers faced by two negro women who pass for white in a deeply segregated world. Read more »

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Rebecca

By Daphne du Maurier
Narrated by: Anna Massey
Length: 14 hours 48 minutes

The classic Gothic suspense novel by Daphne du Maurier -- winner of the Anthony Award for Best Novel of the Century -- is now a Netflix film starring Lily James and Armie Hammer. 

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .

The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and... Read more »

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Frankenstein

or The Modern Prometheus

By Mary Shelley
Narrated by: Anthony Heald, Stefan Rudnicki & Simon Templeman
Length: 8 hours 42 minutes

This special unabridged, multivoiced production of Mary Shelley’s masterpiece of nineteenth-century Gothic horror is narrated by film and television star Anthony Heald, joined by Grammy winner Stefan Rudnicki and actor Simon Templeman, under the direction of award-winning audio producer Yuri Rasovsky.

Dr. Victor Frankenstein, an ambitious young... Read more »

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Social Purpose Annual Report

Social Purpose Annual Report

As we look to the future as a Social Purpose Corporation, we’re committed to serving readers and independent bookstores. Read our 2020 Annual Report to see an overview of the year.

Read the Report

Pride and Prejudice

By Jane Austen
Narrated by: Carolyn Seymour
Length: 11 hours 28 minutes

The provincial Bennet family, home to five unmarried daughters, is turned upside down when a wealthy bachelor takes up a house nearby. Mr. Bingley enhances his instant popularity by hosting a ball and taking an interest in the eldest Bennet daughter, Jane. Meanwhile, Mr. Darcy, Bingley’s even wealthier friend, makes himself equally unpopular by... Read more »

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The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

By Anne Brontë
Narrated by: Alex Jennings & Jenny Agutter
Length: 16 hours 24 minutes

Helen Huntingdon flees a disastrous marriage and retreats to the desolate, half-ruined moorland mansion, Wildfell Hall. With her small son, Arthur, she adopts an assumed name and makes her living as a painter. The inconvenience of the house is outweighed by the fact that she and Arthur are removed from her drunken, degenerate husband.

Although... Read more »

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Jane Eyre

By Charlotte Brontë
Narrated by: Elizabeth Klett
Length: 18 hours 16 minutes

Jane Eyre (originally published as Jane Eyre: An Autobiography) is a novel by English writer Charlotte Brontë, published under the pen name "Currer Bell", on 16 October 1847. Jane Eyre is a Bildungsroman which follows the experiences of its eponymous heroine, including her growth to adulthood and her love for Mr. Rochester, the brooding master... Read more »

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Middlemarch

By George Eliot
Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
Length: 35 hours 35 minutes

Dorothea Brooke is an ardent idealist who represses her vivacity and intelligence for the cold, theological pedant Casaubon. One man understands her true nature: the artist Will Ladislaw. But how can love triumph against her sense of duty and Casaubon’s mean spirit? Meanwhile, in the little world of Middlemarch, the broader world is mirrored:... Read more »

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Vanity Fair

By William Makepeace Thackeray
Narrated by: Georgina Sutton
Length: 32 hours 15 minutes

Vanity Fair, with its rich cast of characters, takes place on the snakes-and-ladders board of life. Amelia Sedley, daughter of a wealthy merchant, has a loving mother to supervise her courtship. Becky Sharp, an orphan, has to use her wit, charm, and resourcefulness to escape from her destiny as a governess. This she does ruthlessly, musing: ‘I... Read more »

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Northanger Abbey

By Jane Austen
Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
Length: 8 hours 16 minutes

When Catherine Morland, a country clergyman’s daughter, is invited to spend a season in Bath with the fashionable high society, little does she imagine the delights and perils that await her. Captivated and disconcerted by what she finds, and introduced to the joys of ‘Gothic novels’ by her new friend, Isabella, Catherine longs for mystery and... Read more »

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To the Lighthouse

By Virginia Woolf
Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
Length: 7 hours 38 minutes

Just before the First World War, the Ramsay family go to their holiday home in the Hebrides, bringing several guests with them. While they are there, one of the children wants to visit a lighthouse. After a ten year gap, during which the war wreaks its havoc on Europe, one of the guests returns to the house; and another trip to the lighthouse is... Read more »

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